Catholic pundits react to selection of Pope as “Person of the Year”

Here are a few reactions from some Catholic thinkers about Time magazine’s decision to select Pope Francis as Person of the Year.

Francis-POYFr. Dwight Longenecker:

The Time magazine writers reflect the sentimental spirit of the age: that there is nothing important about doctrine and discipline, but everything important about being nice and friendly. That Christians are often perceived as being legalistic, harsh and exclusive cannot be denied, but it is in the interests of the enemies of the Christian faith to exaggerate the alleged harshness of Pope Benedict XVI and Bl. Pope John Paul II while downplaying the tough words of Pope Francis.


John Allen, Jr.:

There will be probably be a degree of blowback to the award in some Catholic circles among believers who get nervous when the world seems overly positive about the church. Their question always is, Do they really understand what we’re saying? Of course there’s a risk of simplification or caricature when the culture of celebrity takes over perceptions of religious leaders. That said, the question is which problem Catholics would wish their pope to have: deciding what to do with the world’s interest or struggling to acquire it in the first place? Most people would probably say that all things being equal, the first problem is by far the better one to have.

John Moody:

His public gestures – kissing disfigured visitors to the Vatican, lofting newborns with the endearing awkwardness of a non-parent, washing the feet of prisoners – may have been carefully staged, but they reveal the genuine character beneath the flowing white robes: Francis wants his church to serve, not strut. He has made his concern for the poor – and hailing from Latin America, Jo knows po’ – his keystone and, predictably, paid the price of being misconstrued. In Evangelii Gaudium, his first solo papal exhortation, Francis was widely quoted as deriding capitalist economies. Yet his complaint, a close reading would reveal, is that the pursuit of wealth, in and for itself, has become a competing religion. What parent in the now-infamous 1%, would not counsel his or her child that having money alone is not proof of success, but using it wisely is?

Steven Greydanus:

The world is gaga now over Pope Francis in part for of who he is, but it’s also the Obama Effect, ie, he ISN’T the last guy who had the job. Like Bush 43, Pope Benedict was so hated that people are projecting their wishful hopes for an anti-B onto his successor, facts be damned. Eventually, though, the world will get to know Francis, as it has Obama…and, for very different reasons, the honeymoon will be over.


Categories:Media Pope Francis

  • christopher mahon

    I was waiting to see if any high ranking Church figure would come out in favor of Francis’ acting like a real follower of Jesus.
    Alas, only snide detractors have emerged. They are the ones Jesus said of: Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.

  • Janet O’Connor

    Barbara very modern Pope we had has preached what the Bible says. Benedict’s whole theology was Biblical ask Scott Hahn. I agree with Father Dwight and Steve that this choice is all about emotional sentimentalism nothing more.

  • Sarah

    It’s refreshing to have a pope that preaches what the bible states. Helping the poor, forgiveness, compassion etc. Leave the politics out of this.

  • Barbara

    Pope Francis has loosened the true meaning of the Catholic Church and what is has stood for throughout 2,000 years. It is a dangerous pathway and a slippery slope. I prefer a Pope that is firm and unchanging when defending the Church, but kind and gentle in his answers. Pope Benedict was exactly like that.

    • Sarah

      Can you give examples of this loosening?

    • Jack Mason

      “Firm and Unchanging” means no flexibility of thought. That leads to a denial of reality as well as several diseases such as arthritis and hardening of the arteries. Flexibility of thought opens up the mind to the beauty all around us and within us and lowers blood pressure and the risk of heart attack as well. I know. As the bumper sticker says “don’t believe everything you think.” Don’t be afraid to be wrong. Don’t be afraid of not knowing everything. Love yourself as much as you can. Treat your body as your best friend. Hug yourself. Hug others all the time for we never know if we’ll have that chance again. Each of us is completely unique. There has never been and will never be another human being just like you or me. We are each others unique gift.

  • Greg Cunningham

    John Moody, the first commandment warns of worshiping false Gods. To some, not just Capitalist and certainly not all Capitalist, money is their God. This includes Socialist, Communist and Fascist. It’s not just how you earn it, but what you do with it once you have it that matters. Don’t compromise your relationship with the Lord over the love of money.



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